Frequently asked questions

What is a GI?

A GI is a product name or term that identifies a good as originating in a territory, region, area or locality, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Examples of GIs protected in Australia include Champagne and Tequila.

Will the EU try to add new GIs?

The EU has advised it will not add to the list of GIs it has provided Australia during FTA negotiations. We anticipate that it will seek a process to apply for new GI names after the FTA has concluded, just as it has a right to do under the Wine Agreement.

Will Australia be putting forward a list of Australian GIs for protection in the EU?

The decision on whether to propose a list of Australian GIs in FTA negotiations remains under consideration. (Note Australian wine GIs are already protected in the EU through our Wine Agreement with the EU.) If you are interested in having a GI protected in the EU under the FTA, please contact DFAT via a-eufta@dfat.gov.au.

Who can lodge an objection?

Any person or entity can lodge an objection.

How do I lodge my submission?

Submissions should be lodged using the template [Word 32 KB] provided.

You can email your objections to a-eufta-gisubmissions@dfat.gov.au (preferred), or mail them to the following address:

Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221 Australia

We must receive your objections by 6pm AEST 13 November 2019.

Do I need to consult a lawyer to prepare my objection?

No. If you are unfamiliar with intellectual property law issues and want to submit an objection, however, it may be beneficial to seek assistance from an intellectual property lawyer or trade mark attorney.

Will there be a further opportunity to object to particular GI names the EU is seeking to protect?

This is your opportunity to object to the protection of a specific EU GI as part of a formal objections process. It is important you make your concerns known now, as we expect decisions on protection of EU GI names will be made as part of FTA negotiations. 

What do you mean by the requirement to provide 'evidence' in support of an objection?

We are seeking any information you have which will support the objection you are making. Give us examples of what you are trying to demonstrate; and more information rather than less. If you are still unsure about what to provide you can contact us on a-eufta-gisubmissions@dfat.gov.au.

My trade mark was registered/applied for before the GI. Should I be concerned?

You should object if you have a pending or registered trade mark that is similar to an EU GI, and if you are concerned about protection of that EU GI name in Australia. 

In the grounds of objection, what do you mean by 'common name for the relevant good'?

You would consider a EU GI name to be 'a common name for the relevant good' if you hold the view that the EU GI name, as used and understood in Australia, is a generic or descriptive name for a product. An example of a generic name is brie for cheese. This name can be used to describe any brie-type cheese. Another example would be whisky. This name can be used to describe types of spirit drink. Factors in determining whether something is a generic term include history of use, consumer perceptions and how the relevant good is marketed and used by local industry.

Why do objections need to be based on the level of protection requested by the EU?

The system for protecting GIs in the EU is not the same as the system for the protection of GIs in Australia. The EU is seeking Australia's agreement, through the FTA, to new forms of protecting GI terms. For example, the EU has asked us to consider preventing 'evocation'. The EU could consider using the colours of the Italian flag on the label of an Australian-made cheese as evoking the GI of a particular Italian cheese. We do not provide this kind of protection under Australian law. Because no agreement has been reached in FTA negotiations on how Australia would protect any agreed GI names, objections should be based on what the EU has requested in negotiations.

Why would I need to object to a part of an EU GI name – isn't it just about use of the whole name?  

In some cases, the EU protects parts of an EU GI name. It is seeking an outcome in the FTA that would allow for this. 

The EU has, however, confirmed examples of where, from its point of view, protection would not extend to parts of names. Please refer to the EU GI list. Examples include 'camembert', 'brie', 'prosciutto' and 'speck'.

What do you mean by translation, transliteration, transcription?

Transliteration is when the characters in a word are transferred from one writing system to another writing system. For example, the transliteration of the Greek "Ελιά Καλαμάτας" is "Elia Kalamatas".

A translation is the conversion of the word in one language to the same word in another language. For example, the translation of the Greek term, "Elia Kalamatas", is "Kalamata Olives".

A transcription is the conversion of the characters of one language to the characters of second language in accordance with the pronunciation of the second language. For example, the usual transliteration of "Ελληνική Δημοκρατία" (Hellenic Republic) is "Ellēnikḗ Dēmokratía", while the transcription could be "elinikí ðimokratía.

How will I know my objection has been received and is being considered?

We will send a confirmation message to you when we receive your submission. We may also contact you if we need to clarify matters in your objection.

What will happen to your objection after you've made it?

We will use the information provided to us to help inform the Australian Government's position in the FTA negotiations on the protection of EU GI names.

We will communicate to the EU the objections we receive. We will not provide the EU with any information which you have identified as commercial-in-confidence, or asked us not to share with the EU. Final decisions will be made as part of Australia's FTA negotiations with the EU. We may contact you to seek further information and responses during the course of negotiations.

How will we use the information you provide? Do I need to identify where information is commercially sensitive?

The submission template [Word 32 KB] explains how we will handle your information. Among other things, we ask that you identify if your information is commercially sensitive; or if there is information in your submission you do not wish to be made public or shared with the EU.

How long will it take before I know the outcome on EU GI names?

We don't expect final decisions on protection of EU GIs until late in the FTA negotiations. We will provide updates on the progress of negotiations at the end of each negotiating round on the DFAT website. We hold regular stakeholder briefing sessions and you can seek an update through our dedicated email a-eufta-gisubmissions@dfat.gov.au

When would protection of EU GI names commence?

If we agree to protect certain EU GIs under Australian law, as part of FTA negotiations, it would commence no earlier than entry into force of the Australia-EU FTA.

 

* The information provided on this website is general in nature and does not constitute legal or business advice. If you have any concerns relating to your specific circumstances, you may wish to seek independent advice.



Last Updated: 5 August 2019